Modern toilets can be a convenient way to dispose of human waste. However, they are not great at disposing of other items. Flushing household products instead of throwing them away can cause blockages in drain pipes, contaminate water systems, and even cause damage to the environment. American Water states that your pipes measure only four inches wide at their largest. This means that even seemingly small items can cause serious plumbing problems. A professional can snake a clogged drain for hundreds of dollars. This does not include the cost of fixing water damage from a leaking toilet.
12 Things You Should Never dump in your Toilet
Here are some tips that will help you avoid a costly plumbing emergency.
1. Wipes that are “flushable”
American Water says that flushable wipes are not meant to be flushed down the toilet, despite what the packaging might say. These wipes don’t break down as quickly so they can get stuck in drains, causing clogs. Instead of disposing of the wipes in your bathroom, keep a lined trash container.
2. Paper towels and tissue
Toilet paper is not available as a substitute for paper towels or facial tissues if you run out. According to J. Blanton Plumbing, Chicago, these paper products are designed to absorb water and not dissolve in it. They can block your pipes more easily. Never throw away tissue and paper towels in the trash.
3. Too much toilet paper
It is wasteful and can cause major plumbing problems. Large amounts of toilet paper can clog small pipes and make it difficult to flush. Toilet troubles can be avoided by only using what you really need the next time you go to the bathroom.
4. Cotton balls, rounds, or swabs
Even though they may seem small enough for you to flush, cotton balls, rounds, and swabs can cause major problems in your pipes. These cotton products don’t break down in the water, but instead, build up in pipes. O’Leary Plumbing in Wisconsin says this can lead to blockages or even bent or broken pipes.
5. Feminine Products
Some feminine products, such as sanitary pads and tampons, can absorb liquids and expand several times their original size. Robin’s Plumbing of Phoenix says that these products can cause toilet water backflow and block pipes leading to the sewer and septic systems. Always dispose of feminine products in your trash to be safe.
6. Dental Floss
Dental floss is usually made from nylon or Teflon and does not dissolve in water. It can also build up over time if it is not flushed. American Water states that floss can become wrapped around other items and cause clogs in pipes and sewers. Your floss should be thrown out after you have practiced good dental hygiene.
American Water experts note that hair can be sent down the drain in a similar way to dental floss. Hair can stick to pipes and cause clogs. Do not flush hair clumps down the toilet. Instead, use no clog toilets to protect your sink and shower drain.
Non-biodegradable plastics are used in some bandages. They can pollute the water system when they are flushed down the drain. Sticky adhesives can stick to other objects, creating a bigger clog. These problems can be avoided by throwing away bandages in the garbage.
9. Medications, and Other Hazardous Materials
Avoid flushing medications and other potentially harmful household materials down the toilet. This will help to prevent water pollution. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that you dispose of any medicine that is not used or expired by dropping it off at a designated drug take-back location. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you find a program in your area to recycle hazardous household waste.
10. Cigarette Butts
According to experts from Bishop’s Plumbing, cigarettes can also be a waste item and could cause harm to wildlife. Also, cigarette butts can be a surprise to the next person who uses the toilet. After you have safely put out the cigarettes, throw them in the trash.
11. Fats, oils, and grease
You shouldn’t flush food down your toilet. However, fats, oils, and grease can cause problems for drains. American Water says that even though these ingredients may be liquid, they can stick to your pipes’ interior linings. Blockage can occur when other items are blocked from passing through the pipes. Allow fats, oils, and grease to cool completely after cooking. Then, let them solidify before you throw them in the trash.
12. Kitty Litter
Experts at FloHawks Plumbing say that feline waste should not be flushed down the toilet. Flushing Kitty litter and waste down the toilet could introduce harmful parasites to the water supply. The litter can also absorb water and block pipes. Cat litter and other waste should be bagged and disposed of in the trash.
Remember that the toilet is not meant to replace your garbage can.